I happen to like entering my work in both levels. I do it not so much because of the chance of winning (although I have won many ribbons for my work), but more so for exposing the judges and those that will later come & view the entries to the various types of crochet. The work may not be the judges' cup of tea, but in time they may come to appreciate the freedom that the art of crochet offers! And, it may spur onlookers to pick up the hook and try crocheting! When that happens I feel my mission has been achieved! :)
In a recent telephone conversation I had with a top-level CGOA board member, this very topic came up. She told me how in her area her crochet work is nearly always rejected by judges at a local competition, year after year because they don't view her crochet work as "traditional." I heard her plight and suggested she try a group effort to "sneak the technique" into the back door (so to speak). I told her how my group did such an effort a few years ago and wouldn't you know it! The piece challenged our group members, and it won a ribbon! Today, that very technique is now appreciated at the venue we attend every year! She was excited to hear this and will propose it to her group. I hope to hear from her on how it turns out.
Of course just because you may be entering a "different" technique than that of which the judges are accustomed to doesn't mean to skimp on the overall rules of crochet!
* We should always ensure our dye lots match;
* we start our work with a slip knot and properly end off;
* we securely weave in our ends (yes, judges will tug on your work so be sure they're secure!);
* our work looks and smells clean;
* our work has been blocked (if needed);
* we use the appropriate hook for the intended fiber;
* that the stitches and the fiber work well together (the plainer the fiber the fancier the stitch, the more the fiber has texture the simpler the stitch).
* and finally, if we're looking for a "leg up" over the competition, we should make our work look "finished" instead of "home made." One way to achieve this is by adding a border to your work.
So, in the months to come I will be thinking of what I'd like to enter -- what it will be that I'd like to expose other crocheters or newbies to. If I win a ribbon, that's great. If my work inspires someone, that's even better!
Now, go on over to the Herrschners' website and check out the 2006 Winners -- and if so inclined, why not enter into their 2007 Competition? You could win up to $2000, or even better, inspire someone with YOUR crochet work!